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Build Your House Yourself University

Wish you knew more about the biggest investment you will most likely ever make? Build Your House Yourself University (byhyu) will teach you to save money and make smart decisions about the construction of the place you and your family will call HOME. We will help you understand residential construction— simplify and demystify the design build process. You’ll come away with successful strategies for building your own house, with or without a general contractor. Become an educated consumer, even if you prefer to buy, rather than build a new house. Complex construction jargon and best practices will be explained in easy to understand terms. It’s not the typical DIY (do it yourself) show. You will learn how to MANAGE the labor, not DO the labor for your new house. Join me, Michelle Nelson, host and fellow informal residential construction student. I’ll share the research I find on home design and building as I prepare to build my home. Together, our community of future home builders, will learn the tips, tricks and trends of experienced contractors and industry experts. I’ll interview owner-builders and construction professionals. During our mini lessons, I’ll inform you about framing, flooring, windows, insulation, kitchen cabinets and countertops…almost anything having to do with new construction homes. You’ll hear about energy efficiency and green building too. There will be product reviews in which you will be introduced to cutting edge, as well as, tried and true products and services. And in keeping with the university theme, episodes will end with short, fun quizzes. If we do our due diligence BEFORE we start construction, we will actually start construction with the most difficult part of the project behind us. Let’s put in the time, effort, preparation and research BEFORE we break ground and building our homes will be much easier and more enjoyable.
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Now displaying: Page 7
Nov 23, 2016

We’ve made it to episode 45 of Build House Yourself University (BYHYU). I’m Michelle Nelson, your host and fellow student, and together we’ll learn the basics of home design and construction and demystify the building process, so you can build your dream home, with or without a general contractor.

So, what exactly is a Zero Energy Home?  To quote the folks at zero energy project. org, “Zero energy homes are just like any home—except better.”  They are air-tight, well-insulated, and extremely energy efficient homes that produce as much energy as they use, over the course of a year. That means that for heating and cooling, electricity, and water heating, your net payment to the power company would be zero, zilch, nothing!   You’d have no net utility bills with a zero energy house.

Zero energy houses also have very little negative impact on the environment.  If all that sounds good to you, but you’re weary of looking into a zero energy house because you think that it has to be a super modern, minimalist white box of a house, think again. 

These houses can be built in a variety of sizes and styles and for any climate.  If you want a zero energy house that looks very unique and unconventional, that’s fine.  But, you can also build a zero energy house that looks like any other home—like a traditional colonial or craftsman, or a Mediterranean or bungalow.  You could build a large estate house or a tiny house, or something in between, and you could make any one of those a zero energy house.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

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Nov 16, 2016

Deciding whether to choose a heat pump or a standard heating system and air conditioner for your new home will significantly affect your family’s comfort and your utility bills. That’s why it’s so important to be an informed consumer.  Today’s mini lesson will give you a good foundation for understanding heat pumps, including the commonly used air-source heat pumps, geothermal systems and mini split systems.  It’s a complex subject and you can get much more detailed information online or in books.  But my goal today is to give you enough knowledge so you partner with your HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) consultant to determine whether a heat pump is the right choice for you. 

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Nov 9, 2016

The mudroom is one of the most utilized rooms the entire house.  It gets used daily by most family members, but it’s often designed only as an after thought.  The mudroom is the family foyer.  It’s an area where you prepare to face the day and where you’re welcomed back home.  Plus, it’s a place that will serve as the entrance for more than a few guests as they follow you from the garage into your house. So today’s episode will discuss some design features that you may not have thought about, but that you should definitely consider, when planning your mudroom.  Yes, we’ll talk about cubbies, lockers and benches, but we’ll focus on some practical and unexpected things that you can include that will make your mudroom more functional and more attractive.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Nov 2, 2016

This week we have our second mini lesson on windows.  Last week we went over the different window styles.  If you don’t know the difference between a single hung and a double hung window or what a casement window is, take a listen to last week’s show, episode 41. 

Today we’ll learn about the energy efficiency of windows.   A window's energy efficiency is dependent upon all of its components—the window frame, the glazing and the coatings.  We’ll talk specifically about each of those components, including the different materials used for the frames, double and triple glazed windows and low E windows.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Oct 26, 2016

Windows are one the few features that affect the appearance of both the inside and outside of your home.  They also majorly affect your home’s overall comfort and energy efficiency.   Windows provide natural light, ventilation, and views of your surroundings. Choosing the right windows for your new home is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.  This week’s mini lesson will be the first of a short series we’ll do on windows.  Today we’ll cover the different window styles and some quick tips to help you with your home’s window design.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Oct 19, 2016

Because we go over so much information from week to week, it’s important to review that information to increase our chances of retaining it.  So, this week we have a semester exam. I’ll ask questions based on the mini lessons and interviews from episodes 21 to 39.  The questions and answers will serve as a review of some important points that you should have learned from each episode.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Oct 12, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by someone who was writing an article for realtor.com.  She wanted me to talk about what I call practical luxury. What I mean by practical luxury is something that’s an indulgence, not a necessity, but that you and your family will actually use on a pretty regular basis.  Gone are the days when the typical homeowners are adding luxurious features to their homes simply for bragging rights, or to keep up with the Jones.

This week we’ll talk about 2 practical indulgences for your master bathroom that, for most people, are totally  worth the splurge. We’ll cover radiant heated floors and bidet toilet seats.  These features will not  only make your bathroom more luxurious, but they can add value to your home and make it stand out among other homes on the market, if you ever decide to sell. Practical luxury is a current trend that I believe will continue to be important in new homes for many years to come.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Oct 5, 2016

Do you assume that a traditional wood framed house is what’s best for you?  Granted, stick built houses with traditional wood framing assembled completely on site are by far the most popular type of homes built in the United States.  More than 82% of new homes built in the US are stick built.  But there are other types of construction that can result in a quality built home.  And some of those alternatives can give you a stronger, more energy efficient house that’s quicker to build than a traditional stick built house. 

In this week’s mini lesson, I’ll talk about stick framing, plus go over some the most popular alternatives.   They include panelized homes, steel framed houses, modular homes, and concrete houses.  I’ll give a brief overview of each type of construction.  You’ll probably be surprised by some of the advantages of the alternative building methods.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Sep 28, 2016

Today we have the second part of a conversation that I had with Judy Bilyeu, the corporate marketing director of Metro Appliances and More.  Last week she told us about refrigerators and cooking appliances.  This week, she’ll introduce us to some the new trends in dishwashers, washers and dryers and plus some luxury appliances.   

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Sep 21, 2016

Today we have the first part of a conversation that I had Judy Bilyeu, the corporate marketing director of Metro Appliances and More.  She tells us about the newest trends in kitchen appliances, including a refrigerator that has a built-in Keurig coffee maker.

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Sep 14, 2016

This week’s mini lesson is a continuation of last week’s lesson on hardwood floors.  Today’s show will cover the pros and cons of pre finished hardwood floors versus site finished floors.   We’ll also discuss how various wood species, wood cuts and flooring finishes can affect the appearance and durability of your hardwood floors.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Sep 7, 2016

Hardwood floors are one of the most popular flooring options in new homes. They add warmth and classic beauty and they can work with virtually any style of home—from a simple tiny house to a mega mansion, from a sleek, contemporary to a rustic traditional, and everything in between. 

This week’s mini lesson will cover hardwood floors and the flooring layers that support them.  It’s great to have pretty hardwood floors, but hardwood flooring that well-constructed will help you avoid squeaking, creaking and premature wear.

This week we’ll be talking about what type of material and construction is best for subfloors.  We’ll compare solid hardwood floors and engineered hardwood floors. And I’ll give you some secrets on how to prevent hardwood floors from squeaking and creaking.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Aug 31, 2016

Choosing your kitchen countertop is one the more fun and exciting choices that you’ll make for your new home.  Choices should be made based on the material’s appearance, durability, maintenance and price.  This week we’ll cover the most common types of materials used for kitchen and bathroom countertops, including laminate, ceramic and porcelain tiles, solid surface options, like Corian, butcher block, stainless steel, concrete, soapstone, marble, granite, quartzite and quartz (Silestone and Caesarstone).  There’s a difference between quartzite and quartz, you know?  We’ll talk about all of those options in this week’s mini lesson.

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Aug 24, 2016

Did you know that most water heaters use more energy than all other household appliances combined? According to the US Dept of Energy, water heaters account for almost 17% of a home’s energy use.  Other sources say it’s up to 30% of the a home’s energy.  This week’s mini lesson will help you decide if a conventional, storage tank water heater or a tankless water heater is  the better choice for your new home.  And the choice is probably not as cut and dry as you think.

Conventional, storage tank water heaters are still the most common type of water heaters found in new homes. But tankless water heaters are steadily gaining popularity.  We’ll go over the basic information about how conventional water heaters and tankless water heater work, plus the pros and cons of each system.

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Aug 17, 2016

Today is the last installment of a series of mini lessons that I’ve done on insulation.  In this week’s episode, we’ll talk structural insulated panels, or SIPs, and insulated concrete forms, or ICFs.  These options are especially unique because they not only provide extremely effective thermal insulation, but they also provide structural framing components for the house, including walls, floors and roofs.

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Aug 10, 2016

According to Green Building Advisor. com, “spray polyurethane foam is better than any other type of insulation at reducing air leakage.”  And that’s one of the biggest reasons that spray foam insulation is becoming one of the most popular insulation options in North America.  This week's mini lesson will discuss the two types of spray foam insulation, open cell spray foam and closed cell spray foam.  We'll also cover rigid foam in insulation.

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Aug 3, 2016

Blown in insulation, also called loose fill insulation, is made of fluffy fibers of cellulose, fiberglass or mineral wool.  It’s blown into walls, attics and floors with special equipment. One the main advantages of blown in insulation is that it fills in odd shaped cavities, crevices and gaps and eliminates cold spots.   Learn more about blown in insulation in this week’s mini lesson.

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Jul 27, 2016

For most people, blanket insulation is the insulation that comes to mind when they think about insulation in a home. Most of us have seen attics filled with pink or yellow insulation.  That pillowy insulation that we’re familiar with is blanket insulation and in most cases it was made of fiberglass, which is the most common type of insulation in the United States. But blanket insulation can be made not only of fiberglass, but also of other flexible fibers such as cotton, mineral wool and sheep’s wool.  Today’s mini lesson give an overview of those different types of blanket insulation.

Show notes www.BYHYU.com

Jul 20, 2016

When building a new home, investing in insulation is one of the best ways to decrease your energy consumption and save money far into the future.  Talking about insulation may not be an especially exciting topic in residential construction, but is one of the most important subjects to understand because choosing the amount and placement of insulation will directly affect the physical and financial comfort of you and your family.

Insulation has one of the fastest payback times of all investments you’ll make in your new home.  The savings can be so great that you can often recover your initial investment in just a few years. So, if you can afford it, add the maximum amount of insulation recommended for your home design and region.  In this week’s mini lesson, we’ll talk about some general recommendations for insulation. And over the next few weeks, we’ll learn about some specific types of insulation that are commonly used in residential construction, including spray foam insulation, rigid foam board insulation, batt and blanket insulation and blown-in cellulose.

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

 

 

 

 

Jul 13, 2016

Today’s mini lesson will help not only those wanting to build a new house, but those who want to remodel an older home, especially the kitchen.  As promised last week, we’ll be talking about choosing kitchen cabinets.  If you think choosing kitchen cabinets is simply a matter of choosing stained, wood cabinets versus white, painted cabinets… keep listening.

Naturally, you’ll choose a style that you find attractive, but beyond looks, there are lots of factors that you’ll need to consider that will impact the quality and cost of your cabinets.   For example, a standard 30 inch cabinet can range from just over $100 to well over $1000, depending on its construction, finishes and how customized it is.  Today’s lesson will help us understand the different materials used to construct cabinets and how those materials impact cabinet price and quality.

 

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Jul 6, 2016

For most families, the kitchen is the most important room in the entire house.  It’s not only a functional family space, but it serves as the central area for entertaining, as well. Today we’ll talk about 8 common mistakes to avoid when designing and organizing your kitchen.  Next week, we’ll have another kitchen-centered lesson when I give an overview of what to look for when choosing kitchen cabinets.

 

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Jun 29, 2016

What siding you choose for the exterior of your house will greatly influence the overall appearance and style of your home.  More and more, people are choosing not just one type of siding, but several.  It’s not unusual to see houses with a mixture of brick and stone, or stucco and stone, or even fiber cement siding with brick or stone.

While appearance is a very important consideration when choosing the type of siding, you should also consider the material's price, durability and maintenance. Siding is not simply an aesthetic feature, but it functions to protect your house from the elements.  In today’s mini lesson, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of the most popular siding options.

 

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Jun 22, 2016

Most people are not considering building a tiny house.  Most of us want homes that are larger, in fact MUCH larger, than a typical tiny home. Mobile, trailer-ready tiny homes are usually between 100 and 300 square feet and tiny homes with a permanent foundation can be up to 600 square feet.  To put that into perspective, according to reference.com, the average American bedroom in a new home is between 120 and 150 square feet.  And master bedrooms are typically larger, averaging more than 200 square feet.  That 200 square feet, by the way, does not take into account the master closet space or the master bathroom. 

The closest any of us will ever come to tiny house living will be the time that we spend in a stateroom, on a cruise ship.  The typical room on a cruise ship is 150 to 200 square feet.  So, if you can’t imagine your whole house fitting into such a small space, a tiny house is probably not for you.  But, even if you have no desire to live in just a few hundred square feet, there are many lessons that we can learn from the tiny house movement.

 

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Jun 15, 2016

If you are thinking of being the general contractor of your own home, today’s mini lesson will give you an overview of the different subcontractors that you’ll have to hire.  Even if you decide to hire a builder to oversee the construction of your dream home,  it’s helpful to have a general idea of what each subcontractors does. I’ll briefly describe the role of the major tradesmen in residential construction and give some tips and tricks on hiring and managing those tradespeople.

 

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Jun 8, 2016

When I was growing up, we were told to say “rooves", with a hard “V.”  These days “roofs” is the more common pronunciation.  I might say either or both today in our mini lesson about choosing the right roofing material for your home. 

When choosing the type of roof you want for your new home, you’ll need to consider how much money you want to spend and how often you want to maintain, and potentially repair or replace your roof.  The roof is first and foremost a functional structure, but don’t dismiss the importance of choosing a roof that is aesthetically pleasing.

We often give quite a bit of thought to the way the front of our house, or the front elevation, will look, but we sometimes fail to give the color and texture of our ROOF as much consideration. What roof you choose will have a big impact on your home’s curb appeal.  I recently read that if we think of the front of the house as your home’s face, then the roof is like your home’s hair.   And you know how important someone’s hair is to their overall appearance. 

So today I’ll give an overview of the 6 most common types of roofing materials.  We’ll talk about how they function, how much they cost and how they look.

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

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